Opening of Parking Garage with Business Wing Combined with Conference on Air Tourism Development

Transportation Minister Janez Božič and Vinko Može, the president of Ljubljana Airport, officially opened their latest achievement today: a modern parking garage with a business wing. Environment Minister Janez Podobnik also attended the opening. A conference on the future and development of air tourism in Slovenia took place earlier at the company's offices.

The number of passengers at Ljubljana Airport has been increasing for some years. Growth in 2004 was 11 percent, and predictions for 2005 are even more optimistic. In the first quarter of 2005 the number of passengers was 25-percent higher in comparison to the same period last year. Passenger growth demands greater and more up-to-date capacities. A permit for use was issued for the modern four-story parking garage with its business wing even before the May Day holidays, which are considered the first peak traffic period of the year. The facility was designed by architect Vladimir Koželj of Ljubljana's Eko Art architecture bureau and was built by the SCT company. The parking garage with its business wing represents the first move in an intense investment cycle at Ljubljana Airport. It encompasses nearly 40,000 m² (33,400 m² of parking and 4,270 m² for business).

In 2006 the airport will begin construction of a new passenger terminal, which will extend along the airport area towards Kranj. During construction, the car park that is currently open will be closed, and so it will be necessary to ensure that there is sufficient parking available. The plans include rerouting the current road north of the airport, renovating the runway, driving lanes and access routes, and building a commercial and logistics centre on the land north of the airport. In recent years significant funds have been invested to purchase this land.

"This parking garage points to the modern image that Ljubljana Airport will attain in five years and is a condition for further development. We have bold investment plans. At the same time, we are well aware that passengers will not come to us only because of modern, orderly infrastructure. We also see our mission in actively marketing and attracting new airlines to Slovenia. Far from new passengers benefiting Ljubljana Airport alone, both business passengers and those that arrive as tourists have numerous positive effects for the entire country," emphasized the president of Ljubljana Airport, Vinko Može, at the ceremonial opening of the garage.

The opening that took place today at Ljubljana Airport was also an opportunity to organize a roundtable on the future and development of air tourism in Slovenia.

The results of a study carried out among easyJet passengers this year were presented at the meeting. The study indicated that this carrier brought approximately 100,000 passengers to Slovenia in one year, who spent an average of approximately €... apiece on lodging in Slovenia, and an additional €... daily on non-lodging expenses. The roundtable was led by Dr Tanja Mihelič of the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Economics, and participants included Ljubljana Airport President Vinko Može, Adria Airways President Branko Lučovnik, Kompas CEO Janez Pergar, STO Director Barbara Gunčar, Ilirika travel agency Director Matjaž Čede, Andrej Šprajc from Sava's tourism division and Edi Lesnik from Morje Hotels, which are part of the Istrabenz Group. The participants in the roundtable, which represented those that can contribute the most to the growth of Slovenian air tourism through mutual connections, primarily discussed opportunities for bringing new successes to Slovenia comparable to that achieved with easyJet in the number of visitors and how much they spend.

Brnik, 1 June 2005